main hall at Battersea Beer Festival

23rd Battersea Beer Festival - visitors comments


All 4,831 visitors to the festival were given a comment form on arrival.

We asked that you please spend a minute to fill it in, including voting for your beer and/or cider/perry of the festival, and place in the box at the glasses stand before leaving.

The visitors comments about the Battersea beer Festival 2013 are listed below.

Please Note: ALL comments are published, both good and bad.

CAMRA members accounted for 88 of the 101 comments here.

'TH comment' is the response of the Festival Organiser.

Satisfied customers

  • Good fest! – S Hampshire.
  • As good as usual! – N Herts.
  • Great festival – Kingston & Leatherhead.
  • Great beer fest – SE London.
  • Another great festival – Kingston & Leatherhead.
  • Great beer festival – always enjoy it – thanks – Kingston & Leatherhead.
  • Thanks for a good event – SW London.
  • Thank you! – SW London.
  • Good day in convivial company; looking forward to next year – Kingston & Leatherhead.
  • Enjoyed the day as always – W Middlesex.
  • Enjoyable festival as usual – Bexley.
  • It was very enjoyable; thank you – Non-member.
  • Very enjoyable day – thank you – Kingston & Leatherhead.
  • One of my fav. beer fests – S Herts.
  • It was fantastic. Great venue – Arun & Adur.
  • We (3 of us) thought this excellent – SW London.
  • Excellent, ta – Non-member.
  • Excellent festival, great atmosphere – Surrey/Hants Borders.
  • Excellent, thanks. Shame you cannot run to Saturday – Non-member.
  • Best beer fest to date. Keep it up guys – SE London.
  • Marvellous! Wish we could do something similar! – SE London.
  • Thank you to the volunteers for the festival – Kingston & Leatherhead.
  • Well done all the volunteers – great event! – Non-member.
  • Cheers to the Volunteers! – SW London.
  • Lovely! Volunteers have been amazing – I will join in 2014! – Non-member.
  • Thanks as ever for an excellent festival, well done to all the volunteers, keep up the good work – Non-member.
  • I think all CAMRA branches work very hard to put on a good show, and this one is NO exception -– Kingston & Leatherhead.
  • Well done Tony and all Staff for a great beer fest. No change requested – Chatham, Kent.
  • Slick organisation, lots of good staff. BAC staff v. Polite, friendly and good workers – SW London.
  • Very well organised as usual – same again next year! – Brighton & South Downs.
  • Carry on the good work, more power to your collective elbow – SW London.
  • As dos go it wasn’t half bad – Me & Him.
  • I love Battersea! – Croydon & Sutton.
  • I like beer – Non-member.
  • This is a great show/festival. The venue is becoming so full. Some have waited over ½ hour to get in. I don’t know what to say, but it shows a great interest in the great beer festivals – SE London.

Reasonable prices

  • Fantastic festival. Well done on pricing. You seem to work hard at keeping prices fair and reasonable – Norwich & West Norfolk.
  • Again – a great and friendly festival. Reasonable beer prices too – E London & City.
  • Prices very good – Non-member.
  • Congratulations on your reasonable pricing. A group from our branch went to Hackney recently and the pub we met in (not a Wetherspoons) was cheaper than the festival, absolute rip off! – SE London.

Quality and variety

  • A good beer festival and a really good selection of beers. Well done to everyone concerned. Keep up the good work. – Bromley.
  • Great festival, great beers. Thank you – SE London.
  • Beer choice very good this year – Brighton & South Downs.
  • Good beers once again. Cheers! – Amber Valley.
  • Beer quality excellent (as usual) – S Herts.
  • Good selection of beers – thank you. Something for everyone – Watford.
  • It’s a few years since I attended. Delighted you’ve now catered for those liking stronger beers (6½% and above) – Croydon & Sutton.
  • Really good range of beers. Loved the selection of strong beers. Thank you – Kingston & Leatherhead.
  • Lots of beers 4%, thanks – Kingston & Leatherhead.
  • Keep plenty of <4% in future – W London.
  • Well done for getting a cask of Prince of Denmark. I’ve been drinking this from bottle for about 4 years; first time draught! – Brighton & South Downs.
  • Please make sure Mallinsons get a special mention on website. Worthy runners up include Downton, Ilkley & Purple Moose (all outstanding – particularly the Ilkley Mary Jane). – SE London.
  • Missed the APA (Dark Star) but Mallinson’s Galaxy was outstanding as well as unheard of! – SE London.
  • Tryst Brockville, Thornbridge Wild Swan, Box Steam – all good! – SE London.
  • ‘Downton Imperial Roman Stout is sex in a glass!’ – visitor overheard.
  • Sambrook’s are the best London brewer – Non-member.
  • Small Paul is from Dorset – not Kent. OK, so Gillingham (with a J sound) is in Kent, but Gillingham (with a G sound) is in Dorset. I’ll tell Paul he has moved county........ But good to see lots of Dorset beers – W Dorset.
  • Did not enjoy Ascot Posh Pooch – terribly sweet! – Gainsborough (Lincs).
  • Thank you for letting us vote for our favourite beers. Some festivals (inc. St Albans) have a ‘closed shop’ pre-selected invitees only system of voting. This is not on. Thank you for doing it democratically – Watford.
  • Webmaster comment: See the Beers Page for the Beer of the Festival Result.
  • Range of local ales quite disappointing – Croydon & Sutton.
  • It would be nice to see a few more beers from the North East and Scotland – Non-member.
  • Last year not enough black/dark beers. This year not enough black/dark beers. Pheasantry 4.2 is not a dark ale; it’s chestnut at best! – E London & City.
  • More dark beers – it is winter, after all – SW London.
  • I felt there were too many golden, hoppy beers available and not enough copper bitters, milds, porters and stouts. I understand that golden ales are very accessible and ‘easy drinking’ for people new to real ale. However at a winter event it would be more appropriate to have more winter ales and beers that are darker in colour and a bit more interesting. It’s a harsh but fair take on your festival. This simply wouldn’t happen in Nottingham. – Newark.
  • More dark mild please – Croydon & Sutton.
  • More mild please – E Surrey.
  • Why no Belgian beers on draught? Vant vat!! + more old & brown ales – N London.
  • I vote for Echte Kriek. BRING BACK ECHTE KRIEK – Anonymous.
  • Bloody good range of ciders & perries, thanks to Malcolm – Brighton & South Downs.
  • Please provide a choice of less strong ciders & perries – Mid-Chilterns.
  • Next year, please include lower gravity ciders & perries – Mid-Chilterns.

Bottles and takeaways

  • Great festival. What would be good to have was to take home some beer/ciders? – SE London.
  • TH comment: We did run out of plastic takeaway containers this year.
  • Surprised that bottles bought downstairs could be taken away but those upstairs could not. Why? – Croydon & Sutton.

Running in and running out

  • I didn’t think it necessary to promise more ales than the available space allowed you to rack. I spent the Wednesday session looking for ales which weren’t on, nor could be until something else had finished. Otherwise, excellent festival as expected – Richmond & Hounslow.
  • Very disappointed over 50% of my choices were not available!! Very high percentage, not had this problem before. Why list them? Will think twice about coming back – Somerset.
  • Very disappointed at number of beers not available. Often had to choose 3rd or 4th choice from list. Accept that certain beers will not be available but 33% strike rate is not good! – Somerset.
  • Shame so few beers were ready – Bexley.
  • Disappointed by lack of beers available on Wed 4-7.30 – Brighton & South Downs.
  • In on Wed and v. low numbers of Milds and Olds and Porters; very few beer list beers are available – Maidstone & Mid-Kent.
  • Stouts, Porters & Ales: very disappointing, only c5 available (arrived 16.30 on Weds) – as % of listing v poor – Member.
  • Late Wednesday afternoon – still lots of ‘idle casks’. I cannot believe that so many beers were racked but not ready (should have been some Belleville available from the start) – Watford.
  • TH comment: At the start of the festival, 60 casks were ready to serve. We explained on the website and in the programme that not all beers would be ready after less than 48 hours on stillage and that some beers could not be racked until stillage space permitted.
  • It would be nice if there were more dark milds available on the Friday – S Oxon.
  • Have more milds on Friday – please!! Many thanks – SE London.
  • Ran out of dark/porter ales on the last day (Friday). Poorest beerfest I’ve ever been to due to lack of kegs. 23rd fest and still can’t work out how much stock you require?....... Need I say more, sorry – Non-member.
  • Complaint: why are so many beers not available? Please say in What’s Brewing – N Surrey.
  • TH comment: On Friday we started with 101 casks. We ran out 15 minutes before closing. If we planned not to run out, we would need to raise prices to pay for the wastage at the end of the festival.

Festival food

  • The food here the best ever..... honest! – SE London.
  • Food was excellent!! – Somerset.
  • Food – excellent & good value – Aylesbury Vale & Wycombe.
  • Food – excellent – Member.
  • Food is great, keep them! – E Surrey.
  • Especial congratulations to the chef. Beef stew was fab. All tailored for the weather and v. tasty! & filling! – SE London.
  • Polish food excellent as always! (I always take some home too) – SW London.
  • I have a complaint about the food. There were so many different dishes and they all looked so good that I didn’t know what to have. In the end the chicken curry was spot on– SW London.
  • We love Kam and his food; please say thank you to him – Watford.
  • V. good food – flimsy cutlery; will bring my own next time – even so, enjoyable – SW London.
  • Bigos food v. good again. Some smaller cheaper options would be good – Maidstone & Mid-Kent.
  • We need a change of food franchise. Kam’s food is OK but I would like to be able to buy a ham sandwich or similar. Not everybody wants a full meal – Brighton & South Downs.
  • Please can we have an English cheese roll & strong cheddar cheese on the menu – E London & City.
  • TH comment: Visitors are always welcome to bring their own rolls or sandwiches if they prefer.
  • Didn’t try food this year – but recommend new pie ’n’ mash shop down the road – S Herts.

Glasses and beer measures

  • No 1/2 pt glasses (arrived 16.30 on Weds) – Member.
  • TH comment: Battersea 2002 half pint glasses were available from the Glasses stand at all times on request.
  • One of the best festivals except for the absence of 1/3 pint glasses – Slough, Windsor & Maidenhead.
  • Please re-introduce the ‘third of a pint’ option – Non-member.
  • Would be nice to see 1/3 measures! – Kingston & Leatherhead.
  • I like 1/3 pint glasses. Bring them back! – SW London.
  • There is a demand for 1/3s and I’m one of them! – E London & City.
  • No demand for 1/3s? Yes there is! – E London & City.
  • 1/3 pint lines on glasses please! – SW London.
  • Disappointed at no 1/3 option – Croydon & Sutton.
  • I love the fact you have a selection of ‘big’ Strong Beers (Imperial Russian Stout) but at 10% can we be served these in thirds next year please? – Watford.
  • Please provide 1/3 pint measures, especially important for ciders & perries – Mid-Chilterns.
  • 1/3 pint measures are important with drinks of this strength (strong ciders & perries) – Mid-Chilterns.

Access to bars

  • Getting to the bar difficult – Kingston & Leatherhead.
  • Please keep people drinking and not wanting to buy back from the bar serving area – Kingston & Leatherhead.
  • Please ask drinkers not to hog the bar as it stops people being served – Kingston & Leatherhead.
  • Bars far too overcrowded with ‘static’ drinkers – should have a ‘white line’ policy, i.e. move behind once served – Surrey & Hants.
  • I feel that it might be a good idea to leave a walkway clear from the stairs to the Cider & Perry Bar. When the tables were full of seated people, it was quite difficult weaving in and out of the tables to buy some cider and get back to the stairs – E London & City.

Seating provision

  • Good seating numbers this year – Non-member.
  • More seating available – Croydon & Sutton.
  • More chairs – E Surrey.

Hall layout

  • You would probably get more people playing the tombola if it was in the main hall – Gainsborough (Lincs).
  • TH comment: But at the expense of seating or bar space, or both.

Keeping warm

  • Venue very cold this year – appreciate reasons but a short burst of heating would be appreciated – Brighton & South Downs.
  • Far too cold/draughty – poor excuse to keep beer cool! – Surrey & Hants.
  • As you charge an (fairly high for a beer festival) admission fee, which I am happy to pay, couldn’t we at least have the heating on to keep your customers warm? This policy of ‘no heat’ will also damage the charity as very few people will be leaving anything in the cloakroom – we’re all keeping our coats on..... and buttoned up thank you! – Watford.
  • Some heating in main hall would be advantageous to keep frostbite at bay – Somerset.
  • Can we have the radiators on in the corridor please? I heard someone describe Battersea as ‘The Ice Box Festival’. Heat please – it’s like this every year. I do not accept that the hall is cold to serve the beer in the best condition – What rubbish! There are beer jackets, cask covers and good old towelling and water to keep casks cool. Every other beer festival manages to keep their customers warm. Battersea is the coldest festival of them all for drinkers – it’s not on, it’s not fair and, above all, it’s not necessary – Watford.
  • A few degrees warmer would not affect the beer that much – Kingston & Leatherhead.
  • TH comment: Sadly, the corridor radiators cannot offer short bursts of heating, so that keeping visitors warm enough but beer cool enough remains a tall order.

Presenting information

  • Graphics and message scored very highly – good to take campaigning beyond the festival – Surrey/Hants Borders.
  • Save our Pubs campaign (having saved our cask ales!) has to be our number one priority. One-time property greed is losing part of our heritage – for ever – SW London.
  • Great festival but make more effort to point out benefits and reason for organisation – Croydon & Sutton.
  • Programme: colourings for type of beer – would be easier to understand if these were a ? before the beer rather than highlighting – Member.
  • Ciders need to be labelled Sweet, Medium, Dry in brochure – SE London.
  • Couldn’t find a .pdf of the festival leaflet on the website! (to print for work colleagues). Eventually made do with a lo-res image off the S W London CAMRA website. Apart from that (and beer running out with 15 minutes to go) great show! – SW London.
  • Webmaster comment: Sorry; this was an oversight on my part.
  • Please do put tasting notes on the website beer list!!!. Without them it’s just a pointless list – SW London.
  • Webmaster comment: The downloadable list is for quick reference, the programme has full tasting notes as did the 'Live Beer List' for smart phones.
  • Why is there no information in the festival guide about ciders and perries??!! There is only a list which is really unhelpful – Non-member.
  • Appalling layout/typesetting graphic un-design of Festival Programme – E London & City.
  • For those without smart phones, a blackboard with daily available brews, ABV & brewery, would be helpful. Egham USC run this type of system very successfully – Non-member.

Housekeeping – toilets and signage

  • Better signposting to the restrooms needed, but generally well run. Will return next year – Bromley.
  • There needs to be clear signage to the toilets – in particular, the toilets for the disabled. Are there sufficient toilet facilities for the number of people attending? – Arun & Adur.
  • Only gripe – No signs to loos!!! – Arun & Adur.
  • Venue is getting a bit battered & in need of care & attention. Downstairs Ladies poor – door won’t lock – Aylesbury Vale & Wycombe.

Housekeeping – P.A. system

  • You could do with a better P.A. system – Bromley.
  • Sound system is poor – difficult to comprehend anything from the other end of the hall – Bromley.
  • The acoustics are dreadful in this venue. Announcers should speak very slowly to stand a chance of being understood. I learnt nothing from the announcements – Bromley.

Substitution smoking

  • Please notify customers that ‘electronic’ cigarettes are not legal in enclosed spaces – several people were using these on Friday evening. They give off a nicotine vapour which is at least as toxic as ordinary tobacco – SW London.


  • Only downside: surly reaction at desk when presenting a £20 note for entry. Surely there’s enough money circulating to ensure a healthy reservoir of change here? – Croydon & Sutton.
  • I know the staff are volunteers but why do they have to be so miserable?!! – SW London.
  • TH comment: We’re all getting old and tired. Sorry if it sometimes shows.
  • Where are the pooches? – SW London.
  • TH comment: Shame you missed them.
  • As there’s no trip around the brewery as a prize, you can stick it up your bum! – Non-member.
  • Hornsass, I’m dying. I’ll do you in with bison ribs – SW London.
  • ‘Man who goes to bed with itchy bottom wakes up with a smelly finger’ (Abe Lincoln) – Anonymous.